House of Saud

Dear Folks, I enjoyed a fabulous afternoon in the parliament. I heard Shadi Sadr talk about the situation of human rights in Iran and it was  truly eye-opening.  Recently I was fortunate to sample the delights of fondue and chocolate on a visit to Geneva, Switzerland. It  is one of the most manicured and well-healed places on earth….

Qat it out!

Dear Folks, The Parliament is in a lively mood these days, as there are dozens of committee and group meetings taking place, and of course a few VIPs also doing the rounds. I am trying to cut chocolate from my diet, and making little progress. I need to find some magic substitute, because excessive exercise…

Not so Bashful Bashar

Dear Folks, Aww, the  joys of a tranquil Sunday afternoon. I am in my usual working frame whereby I have 100 windows open on my computer; my mouse clicks back and forth between Yahoo, YouTube and Facebook and I am busy writing an article, working on a new blog post, reading an article and taking…

Living in Fear: Women in Chechnya today

Dear Folks, How are you all doing? I have been bitten by the bug, a girlie bug to be precise. I have dived into the sensation of Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat Pray Love”. I picked it up yesterday from Waterstones, and I am really hooked. According to the cover, it has sold 8 million copies, and…

Somalia: Not for the faint hearted!

Dear Folks, Well, during times of difficulty and stress,  sometimes the oddest things can provide moments of relief. For me, it was watching YouTube clips of the former-model-turned-writer Paulina Porizkova. She is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, and worked as a judge for a time on America’s Next Top Model. She has a…

An African Gem: Ethiopian Airlines

Dear Folks, I am really enjoying the greyness and miserable weather of Belgium. Bring it on baby! After being oven roasted for many weeks in Rome, it is so good to be back in a civilized climate again. The European Parliament is back in session after the summer break, and its staffers are all sporting…

Mr Muammar and his ladies.

Dear Folks, Oh what a glorious day it is!! I am just relaxing and enjoying a delightful Roman view. I thought I would tell you all that I had the most surreal experience on the weekend. My fiancé and I were walking along Via del Corso when all of a sudden Mr Silvio Berlusconi himself, along with…

A Great Summer Read

Dear Folks, Well,  I hope you are all enjoying an easy-going summer and are not having to suffer the wrath of Belgian bureaucracy. Trust me, it really is a barrel of laughs. I have trekked across Brussels; visited three embassies and seen numerous bureaucrats. I am really relieved to be heading back to Rome for…

Algeria’s Iron Lady

Dear Folks, Well, I am in Rome again, and I am just baking and boiling each time  I step outside. I am rather lily-white and pasty, and in these parts, Romans tan to excess, and their flesh looks so crispy and roasty-red, that you could serve it with new potatoes and salad.   I finally realise that taking a siesta is not an…

The Mujahedin-e Khalq: Who are they really?

Dear Folks, Well once again it is Strasbourg week,  and everyone is away enjoying the final plenary session of the term. There will be two in September, which will cause quite a few headaches for both deputies and  admin staff. I shall be going to Rome soon, and I can’t wait to eat amazing food,…